By Raïssa Robles - President Rodrigo Duterte has been making jokes about military coups being launched against him in successive days. What he and his aides never ever mention is that Duterte is a proud member of a military-civilian group that once staged a series of bloody coup attempts against the late President Corazon Aquino in order to reinstate the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Recently, I got this curious query from my editor in South China Morning Post, who noticed that Duterte had a tiny tattoo on his hand. It was unusual for a head of state to have a tattoo, he said, explaining why he wanted to know more about its origin. And so I asked Duterte's former schoolmate, presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza. And it turned out, Dureza has the same tattoo.
My dear colleagues in Cyber Plaza Miranda, Facebook, Twitter and the Internet - By Raissa Robles - I wanted to announce to you first when the formal book launching will be - two Thursdays from now, on March 31, 2016 in the afternoon at the Ateneo de Manila University. I would very much appreciate it if you and your friends could come.
Exclusive by Raïssa Robles - When I interviewed President Benigno Aquino III on April 16, 2015, one of the very first things he told me was that he intends to fix the pension system for the military and policemen. This includes passing an amended law and identifying ways to fund its seed capital, which is estimated to cost over P1.7 trillion. According to news reports, as of the year 2000, unpaid pensions had reached a total of P18 billion.
My take on the rage and the fears over this proposed law - By Raïssa Robles - It looks like the Philippine government is about to arrive at a momentous peace settlement and agreement with the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Congress is likely to pass the the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which will put in place a new regional autonomous government with expanded revenue-making powers, a bigger purse and more say in running its own affairs. It’s a major stepping stone on the road to peace in Mindanao, which has been torn by war for decades. The BBL has met bitter opposition from some quarters. Opinion surveys show that many Filipinos are against the BBL. But what’s interesting is that recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) surveys indicate that the opposition seems to be based on ignorant. Those respondents who knew nothing at all about the BBL are the ones most opposed to it. In fact, it seems most of the critics of the BBL have not bothered to read the BBL at all.
But why gov't needs to deal with MILF - Commentary By Raïssa Robles - E-mails between the slain bomber Zulkifli Abdhir, alias Marwan, and his brother Rahmat Abdhir bare a brisk trade in weaponry in the south, even between rebels and soldiers.
As rumors of an impending destabilization move roiled Manila even amid the Day of Hearts, my hubby consulted our lavandera with strange mystical powers and was inspired to write the following:
Even as I write this, political forces against the Aquino administration are furiously plotting how to exploit the Mamasapano fiasco in order to bring down the government of President Benigno Aquino III. In the light of this, let me share with you a think piece which my journo-husband Alan wrote about coup attempts.It's time to refresh our knowledge about coups.
An NGO which played a key role in the Philippine signing of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 15 years ago has issued a statement calling for an impartial probe on the police commando killings but urging the public not to over-react.
Ever since I can remember, my hubby Alan has always been reading books on military history and battles in various countries if he's not playing a war strategy game on his PC. And our library is stuffed to the ceiling with such books. Part of our dates were spent playing Panzer Leader and the Arab-Israeli war board games. This was how I learned a little about tactics during battles. At times, I even won :), but that was rare. Perhaps because of this, I know that what he says about military operations makes a lot of sense. I am therefore sharing the many questions he has been asking aloud ever since news broke over the death of the police commandos in Mindanao.